Best birthday cake EVER!!!!!

As the official family cake-maker, the only way I’ve ever had a decent vegan birthday cake in the past is to make it my god-damn self. But this birthday I had a lovely treat – Mitch and my darling hubby made the cake, and Imogen decorated it. They used Dr Fuhrman’s Hawaiian Pineapple Cake recipe. Imogen reserved some of the icing and blended it with frozen raspberries to pipe ‘Happy Birthday’.

Hawaiian Pineapple Cake
2 cups wholemeal flour (we always use spelt)
1 cup date sugar
1 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1 cup steamed and mashed pumpkin
240 g  can crushed pineapple packed in own juice, undrained
1/2 cup pineapple or orange juice
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 1/3 cups raw cashews
1 cup oat milk
1/2 cup dates, pitted

Combine the flour, date sugar and bicarb soda, and stir to mix well. Stir in the pumpkin, crushed pineapple, incuding the juice, and the pineapple or orange juice, vanilla extract and walnuts.

Line a large square cake tin with baking paper. Spread the batter evenly in the pan and bake at 180°C for 35 minutes, or just until a wooden toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean.

While cake is baking, make the icing by blending the nuts, then adding the oat milk and dates and blending until smooth.

When cake is done, remove from oven and let cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert cake onto the cooling rack. When completely cool, carefully move cake to a flat dish and spread cashew icing on top and sides.

Hawaiian pineapple cake


Imogen ups the ante

Not one to be one-upped by her big brother, Imogen chose her own 3-course menu tonight. We had Warm Potato Salad for entrée, Sweet Potato and Kale Curry for mains, and Vanana Ice Cream topped with Hot Fudge Sauce for dessert. Now, I can’t even remember the last time I bought white potatoes; they’re fairly low on the nutrient density chart. However, both my kids love potatoes and as every wise parent knows, you have to pick your ‘no’s. I’d rather say ‘yes’ to white potato salad now, so I have a ‘no’ left in my bag for when my little sweet-toothed angel is begging for a vegan cupcake :).

Warm Potato Salad



4 medium Desiree potatoes, diced (leave skin on)

Large handful each of parsley and tarragon

50 g tahini

60 g apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp wholegrain mustard

1 tbsp caraway seeds

Tasty salad seed topping

120 g pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

120 g sunflower seeds

60 g sesame seeds

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar



Steam potatoes until tender – about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, whiz herbs in food processor, then add tahini, apple cider vinegar, mustard and caraway seeds and pulse until well-mixed.

Drain potatoes, allow to cool slightly, then toss with herb dressing and top with a few tablespoons of Salad Seed Mix.

Salad seed mix

Toast seeds in a non-stock frying pan over medium-high heat, shaking pan frequently, until seeds are just beginning to brown. Remove pan from heat, pour balsamic vinegar over seeds and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. Store leftover seeds in an airtight container.

Warm Potato Salad

Sweet Potato and Kale Curry


1 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp curry powder

2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

1 tbsp black sesame or nigella seeds

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced

2 carrots, diced

200 g pumpkin, peeled and diced

1 zucchini, diced

300 g mushrooms, sliced

1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and finely shredded

600 g cooked chick peas

300 g green beans

1/3 cup cashew ‘yoghurt’, reserved before adding grated cucumber in Cucumber Raita recipe below

juice of 1 lemon


Water sauté onion, garlic and spices for 2 minutes. Add seeds, all vegetables except beans, chick peas and water, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add beans and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and cashew ‘yoghurt’ and simmer for another 3 minutes.

Sweet potato and kale curry

Vegan Cucumber Raita


80 g raw, unsalted cashews
100 ml water
juice of 1 lemon or lime
pinch of cumin
1 small Lebanese cucumber


Soak cashews in water for 2 hours. Put cashews and water into a blender or food processor, and blend on high speed until very smooth and creamy. Blend in cumin and juice. Grate cucumber and stir into cashew mix.

Cucumber raita

Vanana Ice Cream with Hot Fudge Sauce


Ice cream

4 bananas (peel and roughly chop before freezing for at least 24 hours)

2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla powder

50-100 ml plant milk

Fudge sauce

100 g pitted dates, roughly chopped

30 g cacao

150 ml plant milk


Ice cream

In a high powered blender or food processor, blend banana and vanilla with enough plant milk to make a soft-serve consistency. Scoop out into chilled bowls.

Fudge sauce

Blend all ingredients together, then transfer to a saucepan and stir over medium heat until sauce is bubbly hot. Or cook in Thermomix at 100°C for 2 mins on sp 8, then reduce to sp 4 and continue cooking for 3 mins.

Pour hot fudge sauce over ice cream.

Vanana ice cream with hot fudge sauce

Mitch’s 3-course dinner

Mitch went berserk on his cooking day last week, treating us to Mumbai Cabbage Wraps, Vegetable & Lentil Pyramids, Apple and Cucumber Salad with Peanut Ginger Dressing, and Apricot Sesame Slice.

Mumbai Cabbage Wraps


2 cups shredded red cabbage

1/4 cup diced dried papaya or mango

1/4 cup ABC spread or other nut butter

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp tumeric

2 tbsp orange juice

4 wholemeal Sorj breads


Mix all ingredients except bread in a bowl. Divide evenly between Sorj breads and roll up.

Mumbai cabbage wraps

Vegetable & Lentil Pyramids



250 g wholemeal flour (we used spelt)

1 tsp bicarb soda

juice of 1/2 lemon

75 g tahini

140 ml water


2/3 cup French green lentils or other small lentils

1 1/3 cups water

1/2 onion, diced

1 carrot, diced

140 g peas

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp oregano

1 tbsp nutritional yeast



Mix flour, bicarb soda amd lemon juice. Whisk tahini into water and pour into flour. Stir lightly until it forms a rough ball. Roll out between sheets of baking paper, or on a floured surface. Cut into 8 squares, each 10 cm.


Rinse lentils, then bring to the boil in 1 1/3 cups water. Turn heat down and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add onion and continue simmering for another 10 minutes. Add carrot and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add peas and seasonings and simmer for another 10 minutes or until lentils are tender.

Wet the edges of the pastry squares. Divide filling evenly between pastry squares. Pinch adjoining edges together to form a square pyramid shape. Bake at 175°C for 30 minutes.

Vegetable & lentil pyramids

Apple & cucumber salad

This was really just something we threw together – use the ingredients in your desired proportions:

Cos letttuce

Red apple, thinly sliced

Lebanese cucumber, thinly sliced


Spanish onion


Peanut Ginger Dressing


2 oranges, peeled

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/8 cup peanut butter

1/8 cup ABC spread or other nut butter

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled

1 clove garlic


Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Apricot Sesame Slice


50 g dried apricots, diced

120 g tahini

2 tbsp malt extract

1/2 tsp bicarb soda

2 tbs0 water

100 g rolled oats

130 g wholemeal flour (we used spelt)

150 g date sugar

70 g desiccated coconut

2 tbsp sesame seeds

150 ml oat or nut milk

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place tahini and malt extract in Thermomix bowl and cook for 1 minute at 60°C on speed 2 (or stir over low heat in saucepan until well-mixed).

Add bicarb soda and water and mix for 5 sec on sp 2 (or stir into tahini mixture).

Add oats, flour, coconut, sesame seeds, oat milk and apricots and mix for 20 sec on sp 1, using the Thermomix spatula.

Spread mixture into a lamington tin lined with baking paper. Bake for 30 mins or until golden brown. Allow to cool in the pan and cut into squares.

Apricot sesame slice

More delicious, healthy recipes at

Mushroom loaf & chocolate banana pie from Imogen

Everyone in my family loves Mushroom Loaf, so Imogen decided to try her hand at it this week. We adapted the Chocolate Banana Pie from the Thermomix cookbook A Taste of Vegetarian. You can cook the filling on the stove if you don’t have a Thermomix.

Mushroom loaf


¾ cup brown rice
1½ cups water
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cups chopped Swiss brown mushrooms
1 tbsp Dr Fuhrman’s VegiZest
2 tsp paprika
1½ tsp oregano
1½ tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
2 tbsp arrowroot
4 tbsp water
250 g silken firm tofu, drained
¾ cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup rolled oats, coarsely ground in food processor


Bring rice to boil in 1½ cups water and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

Sauté onion, celery, mushrooms, VegiZest, paprika and herbs in a small amount of water until vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Blend arrowroot, water and tofu in a blender or food processor. Add walnuts and blend until smooth.

In a bowl, mix together tofu mixture, vegetables, oats and cooked rice.

Line a loaf pan with baking paper. Add mixture to pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Turn loaf out and slice.

Mushroom loaf

Chocolate banana pie



30 g date sugar

30 g raw almonds

210 g wholemeal flour (we used spelt)

130 g tahini

1/2 tsp mixed spice

1/4 cup water or orange juice


90 g raw cashews

1 vanilla bean

70 g pitted dates

50 g cornflour or arrowroot

340 g water

25 g cacao (raw chocolate powder)

70 g malt extract

50 g tahini

2 bananas



Mill sugar in Thermomix for 3 sec on sp 9. Set aside.

Mill almonds in Thermomix for 5 sec on sp 8.

Add flour, tahini, date sugar and spice and mix for 10 sec on sp 6, until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Set dial to closed lid position, add juice and owater and knead in Interval speed for 15-20 sec to form dough.

Turn mixture out onto a floured board and knead lightly.

Roll out and place in a flan dish or springform pan. Blind bake at 160°C for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.


Mill cashews and vanilla bean for 10 sec on sp 8.

Add all remaining ingredients except for tahini and bananas. Cook for 6 mins at 90°C, then a further 2 mins at same temp on sp 5.

Slowly drizzle tahini through hole in lid onto rotating blade, incorporating over a 1 minute period on sp 4. Allow to cool in bowl for 5 mins.

Slice bananas into cooled pie shell. Pour chocolate mixture over and allow to cool to room temperature before chilling in refrigerator for up to 3 hours before serving.

Mmmm… pie!

Chocolate banana pie



Imogen’s Asian-style improv

My kids love soba noodles, and we’ve recently discovered the wonderful black bean spaghetti made by Explore Asia. Since we were too busy last weekend to choose a recipe, we just made this up – and it was delicious!

Imogen’s Asian-style noodle soup


2 cloves garlic, minced

400g pumpkin, diced

4 cups water

1 head broccoli, cut into florets

220 g mushrooms, sliced

1 red capsicum, cored and sliced

300 g tofu, cubed

100 g soba and/or black bean noodles

1 bunch bok choy, shredded

4 shallots

1 tbsp VegiZest

1 tsp Chinese five-spice

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

black sesame seeds, to garnish


Water sauté garlic in a small amount of water for 3 minutes, then add pumpkin and 2 cups water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add broccoli, mushrooms, capsicum, tofu and remaining 2 cups water and simmer for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except for sesame seeds and simmer for 4 minutes. Serve topped with black sesame seeds.

Imogen’s Asian-style noodle soup

Mitch’s delish quiche

We adapted this recipe from the Thermomix A Taste of Vegetarian cookbook. Simple, nutritious and delicious!

Leek and kale quiche

Ingredients: crust

100 g almonds

40 g sesame seeds

200 g rolled oats

120 ml water

Ingredients: filling

1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1 leek, cleaned and roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic

1/2-1 red chilli, de-seeded

1 bunch kale, de-stemmed

50 ml water

100 g raw cashews

150 ml water

40 g cornflour or arrowroot

250 g silken tofu

Instructions: crust

Grind almonds, seeds and oats in food processor or Thermomix (sp 9) for 1 minute. Add water and mix for 5-10 seconds (sp 6). Press into quiche dish or springform pan.

Instructions: filling

Pre-heat oven to 160°C.

Chop onion, leeks, garlic, chilli and kale in Thermomix bowl for 5-10 sec on sp 7 (or hand-chop finely). Add 50 ml water and sauté for 4 mins at 100°C on sp 1 (or transfer to a frying pan and water sauté). Remove vegetable mix from Thermomix bowl.

Place cashews in TM bowl and mil for 30 sec, sp 9 (or grind in food processor). Add 150 ml water and blend for 1 min on sp 9. Add cornflour/arrowroot and tofu, blend for 30 sec, sp 9. Add sautéed vegetables and mix for 5-10 sec on sp 6.

Pour into unbaked pie crust and bake for 45 minutes.

Leek and kale quiche

For dessert, we made Rhubarb and Apple Crumble

Rhubarb and apple crumble


Imogen learns to cook one of her favourites!

I have been making lentil bolognese for my family for years, so this week, rather than road-testing a new recipe, Imogen decided she wanted to learn how to make it. I usually serve it over black bean spaghetti which is fantastically nutritious and delicious. Imogen, however, wanted to have the sauce over gnocchi instead. I’m not crazy about gnocchi because it’s a very high glycaemic index food with low nutrient value, but just this once I let Imogen have her way :). We had the gnocchi and bolognese with some steamed vegies  – including some delicious silverbeet the kids brought home from the school vegetable garden.

Red Lentil Bolognese


2 cups water
1 cup red split lentils
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
300 g eggplant, diced
400 g can diced tomatoes (no added salt)
2-4 tablespoons tomato paste (no added salt)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
freshly ground black pepper


Place the water, lentils, onion and garlic in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 5 minutes. Add eggplant and continue simmering for 20 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Red lentil bolognese

Banana oat biscuits


2 cups rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
4 medium overripe bananas
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 180ºC. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.Use a high powered blender or food processor to process the oats into flour. Pour the oat flour into a mixing bowl and add the baking soda and cinnamon.

Put the peeled, overripe bananas into the blender and blend until completely smooth. Add to the oat mixture along with the sunflower seeds and raisins, and mix until well combined.

Place spoonfuls of the cookie dough on the baking sheet. Use lightly moistened fingers to flatten each biscuit down slightly. Bake for 12 minutes.

Banana oat biscuits